The educational philosophy at Ronald Knox is based upon the research and work of Dr. Maria Montessori, an Italian-born educator and the first woman physician in Italy. Fundamental to her approach is the idea that children must have freedom, achieved through order and self-discipline, in order to develop to their full potential.
The following characteristics of the Montessori education foster the Ronald Knox mission:
Sometimes referred to as the "whole child" approach, Montessori's holistic curriculum features activities and materials that promote physical, emotional, social and intellectual development.
Mixed Age Groupings
The three-year age span in each Early Childhood classroom (ages 3-6) creates a cooperative learning environment that fosters multi-age friendships and conversations. In this family-like setting, older children gain self-esteem by assisting and guiding the younger children, while they, in turn, benefit from the availability of older and wiser role models.
Process over Product
The Montessori classroom is process-driven rather than product-oriented. Materials and activities are carefully prepared to allow children to follow a complete work cycle, thus enabling them to achieve a sense of completion and achievement, the key elements to the development of intrinsic motivation and self-confidence.
Development of Discipline and Independence
Children are encouraged to work independently, becoming self-directed learners. Large blocks of uninterrupted time allow children to explore their environment, while making decisions and managing their time well. This fosters self-confidence, self-discipline and independence in later life.
One of the major goals in our educational setting is to learn to live in harmony with each other. Children are expected to respect their peers and teachers as they interact, support and work productively towards the common goal. At RKMS, the ability to learn to live in peace within a community is greatly valued. Children pattern their social behavior after adults and "leading by example" plays a critical role in our classrooms and throughout our community.
Spontaneous Activity in the Educational Process
Since each child is at a different point developmentally, the children are given the freedom to learn at their own pace and in their own style. There are no set academic goals for age levels; instead, the Directress observes each child and provides materials specific to their skill-level and interests.
These qualities result in active, self-directed learning that strikes a balance between individual mastery and small group collaboration.